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Women in WealthTech: Christina Townsend of BNY Mellon Pershing

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Along with her team, Christina Townsend works to develop, implement and support strategies, solutions and platforms for wealth managers, RIAs, multi-family offices and trust companies for BNY Mellon Pershing. She also is responsible for relationships with consultants and vendors supporting these market segments.

Prior to her current role, she led the Managed Investments product and transition teams and served on the Managed Investments Executive Committee. She also oversaw the product strategy, roadmap and implementation of clients’ managed account solutions.

Townsend joined Pershing in 2000, starting in the corporate intern program and then working on business process improvement efforts. She managed a team responsible for delivering large-scale technology and new client conversion projects.

She serves as the North America co-chair of BNY Mellon’s Women’s Initiative Network and on the BNY Mellon WIN Operating Committee.

What makes your job special? The technology landscape is changing rapidly, creating new complexities. I focus on helping advisory firms make better, smarter technology decisions that will help future-proof their businesses.

Leveraging our broad view into the available solutions across our organization, industry and the fintech space, my team and I help clients develop a technology ecosystem designed to drive their businesses forward.

I believe that when done right, technology can be a powerful factor in building an enduring business and long-lasting relationships with investors, as well as attracting the next generation of talent, which is why I am so proud of the work that I do.

What tech-related areas do you most focus on in your job? Wealth platforms and custody solutions.

What technology are you most bullish on in the short term? Integration technology (APIs, etc), which enables firms to pick best of breed tech from the ever-increasing number of specialized fintech firms and integrate seamlessly to create efficiency and provide the optimal client experience.

And longer term? Robo/digital advice. There won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution, so I’m watching what we can learn from “non” fintech companies.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data will change how advisors find new clients, interact with existing clients and drive scale, so I’m watching how regulation and governance may impact application and use.

What keeps you up at night? How we change behavior and help clients adopt technology faster to future-proof their business.

Which woman in the field do you most admire? Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, for her work to close the gender gap in technology.

Go-to source for tech info? Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View blog and Financial Advisor Success podcasts.

Favorite apps or tech tools for your job? Skype, Slack and, of course, LinkedIn for networking.

And off the clock? My new Peloton.